His BBC Dragon’s Den Appearance In FULL & Surprising Detail w/ Kevan Marshall – #26

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The Brand Builder Show
His BBC Dragon’s Den Appearance In FULL & Surprising Detail w/ Kevan Marshall – #26
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Welcome back to another episode of the Brand Builder Show!

This week we’re joined by one of our well loved BBU members Kevan Marshall.

Kevan recently appeared on Dragon’s Den (UK’s version of Shark Tank) and pitched his business for investment from serial entrepreneurs such as Peter Jones and Steven Bartlett.

In this episode we discussed everything that goes on behind the scenes and get some fascinating insight into what it’s really like to appear on the show.

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Talking points:

00:00 Ben introduces Kevan Marshall

01:05 Kevan talks about his journey

08:10 Kevan discusses how his business grew

14:45 Talking about Dragon’s Den

23:29 Due diligence for Dragon’s Den

30:20 Getting in to the actual room of Dragon’s Den

34:29 Investment time

36:18 Deciding factors in terms of investment and percentage

38:32 Leaving the Dragon’s Den

46:07 If Kevan would go back to Dragon’s Den

48:13 Kevan’s plan for the following years

Ben Donovan 
Well, hey, guys, welcome back to another episode of the brand builders show. I am super pumped. I’m excited and privileged to have my good friend Kevan on the show, Kevan, welcome to the Brand Builder Show. It’s gonna be it’s gonna be great to unpack your journey and talk through so much about you know, you’re selling on Amazon journey, but also this exciting journey of going on Dragon’s Den. Now, for anybody that’s listening is not in the UK, that’s kind of like our equivalent of Shark Tank. I assumed they had a trademark on that name. So we couldn’t use that in the UK. But here we are. It’s like where entrepreneurs go to pitch their idea to investors and basically get grilled, and, you know, look for investment in their product. So I’m excited to talk to you about that. Kevan. Before we get into that, you know, talk to us a little bit about your journey. You’re one of our beloved Brand Builder University members started selling on Amazon a couple of years ago. Give us a bit of an introduction to yourself and the beginnings of that journey.
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah, so you’re interested in interesting journey really. So I suppose one of the one of the big things for me really was was about time freedom. Yeah. So I’ve got a camper van. You know, I love you know, getting away as often as I possibly can in my campervan. And you know, I really wanted to do you know, a lot of the stuff that you know, that that I want to do and a lot less of, you know, the stuff that other people Want me to do. So it was a So, so time freedom was a was a really big, really big driver for me big life goal, I’d actually been sort of started on that journey for for quite some time, I’ve got, you know, a number of different pension pots that it was that I was putting into, because the way I looked at it at the time, you know, having a pension was was literally the sort of the ultimate and passive income, where you could, you know, you could draw money, and, you know, so long as you were, you know, you didn’t have to really do anything apart from keep breathing, which was, which was, which is great.
 
Kevan Marshall 
So, I suppose I had this sort of as timeframe, you know, in mind, and it was always 55. So, a number of reasons, you know, for that date, probably won’t bother going into it just now. But 55 is really the sort of like the, the time where we’re really wanted to look at, you know, being able to sort of retire, you know, with my pensions, and sort of, like, do a lot more of the stuff that you know, that I’ve that I love to do that I really wanted. But I suppose when I when I started hitting 50, and I started doing the sort of like, the songs, it just really wasn’t adding up. So, so looking at it, I was thinking, Well, you know, what, I really still want to be able to, you know, sort of, like, have that freedom when I’m 55. But sort of, to be able to do that, I’m really going to probably have to have another source of income. So I started looking at, you know, sort of their businesses, because of my, you know, my lifestyle wanting to get away in the camper, and really sort of, you know, if I was looking at business, I was thinking about, I could only really be, you know, something online, something that I’m not, you know, time dependent, that, you know, that, you know, I could still do stuff, while I was away, sort of sitting in the beach, you know, sort of where you’re watching the similar the waves roll in. So, you also kind of ruled out, you know, a lot of, you know, a lot of businesses sort of a, you know, at the time, you know, like stuff where you’re actually physically you don’t happen to be, you know, you know, you know, at plays, you know, like, like sharp or, or various other things. So, I guess, you know, the, the obvious, the obvious sort of, you know, choice for me was was online retail. So I started looking at a number at number of things, selling stuff on eBay, you know, and this was probably about the tail end of 2018, I started sort of, so I had a, like, a lot of stuff, you know, around the house, like most people do. Start so like less than them and sell them on eBay. Which is great, fine. Yeah. I mean, I really enjoyed that. But, you know, it was, there was, it was, it was drawbacks in that, and the fact that he else, you had your, you had our products, you know, in your house, you had to pick and pack and post them yourself. You had to, you know, do all the listings, and then you had to keep on trying to find other products, you know, that you could, you know, that you could sell, so, that wasn’t really, you know, sort of a, you know, ideal for me, and then probably, you know, early January 2019, I’d actually heard about this thing called Private Label selling and Amazon FBA. And prior to that, I’d never I’d never heard of it.
 
Kevan Marshall 
And I thought wow, so what a what a great business model, you know, you can you can have your own products, you can send them into Amazon, you don’t have to start them in your own house, you can send them into Amazon, Amazon or sort of a you know, when you sell them the pick, pack and post them, send them out to customers, Amazon has a huge over some huge marketplace. And, you know, they also deal with, you know, a lot of the while the customer service as well. I thought wow, you mean I could I could easily do that, you know, whilst I’m away in my camper van I could easily you know, work and not whilst you know, in full time employment, which which obviously it was at the time. So that really kind of got me into the kind of like the Amazon FBA sort of, you know, and starting an online business, but I suppose I mean, like everyone, nobody knew me and I didn’t have a clue. So you made it seem like a good idea. And that’s always the first place that you look, you mean everyone sort of goes on YouTube and there was like loads of videos on that YouTube and you know, some good some bad people walk in Oh, look at me, I’ll make you a millionaire in six weeks and Oh, July my Lamborghini. And I suppose No, I mean, I came across a certain guy called Ben Donovan, dodgy, like, never heard of dodgy geezer. Yeah. And do we had a sort of a YouTube video and, you know, I thought, one sort of what I liked about it is, as you were mentioning about you know, how we can use sort of a, you know, like online businesses. You know, for that time freed up really about, you know, freeing up the, you know, freeing you up from the grip that money has over time and how everyone sort of just trading their time for money. And if you have your own business, you literally have that freedom. And I thought, wow, this is this is this is exactly what I’m looking at. So, suppose you had this course at a time Ben called the Amazon masters, which, which I literally, you know, signed up to it pretty much straightaway. So that must have been about maybe January, February time. 2019. I think you probably mean, of course, probably wasn’t that long running? And yeah, just
 
Ben Donovan 
would have been like, rather startling. Yeah.
 
Kevan Marshall 
So yeah, so that said, so that’s, I suppose, where you know where I started?
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, no, that’s great to hear your backstory, and I’m obviously conscious of, there’s so much I want to ask about Dragon’s Den. But I also want the audience to know about your journey a little bit as well, because you are, you know, doing really well now, and, but it wasn’t always like that, you know, obviously, you’ve launched a couple of products, but the product that you actually took on the Dragons Den, again, we’ll get to that in a minute, you know, has been doing really well for you. And I do just want to talk about what it is you’ve done to, to be successful, that you’re kind of like my poster boy for, for doing a good job in the area of, you know, really differentiating your product, can you talk to us about, you know, what you did, and you know, the price, you’re able to charge because of that, just give us a bit of background as to, you know, then how your business grew? Because of that.
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah, sure. So, so, so, I suppose you need to go on, first of all, sort of my, my initial product that that alliance, so. So that’s what made us Minister, I always, I suppose, when I looked at, you know, products, etc. And I remember there was a, there was a, I think one of the early modules in your, in your course, where you kind of mentioned, you know, select niche for product first. So you could, you know, look at, like, various sort of profitable products, and, you know, with, with high demand low competition, and then sort of, like, build a brand around that, or, you know, or go for a specific niche. So, I ended up sort of deciding to go for a specific niche. So I’ve got two dogs, and, you know, they were like, obviously, a huge passion of mine as well. And I decided I wanted to do a pet product brand. So trying to find initial products was was very difficult, actually, in the pet, prior to buying a lot of the products, you need, sort of, like various variations and quite a bit of sort of capital. But then I ended up because of, because I really wanted to, you know, have my business sort of up and running. And obviously, I had this kind of time pressure on myself that I wanted to, you know, have everything up and running by the time I hit 55. And I decided to sort of offer offer products, I was, you know, what, I’ll just go out there, I’ll put a product out there, you know, and I will learn, you know, learn the ropes while I go there. Didn’t think they would probably end up having a brand on this product. But, you know, sort of it was a it was a like a learning curve for me. Yeah. And anyway, the, I’m not, I’m no longer selling our product, but you mean it was a you know, it was it was a great sort of learning curve. And I learned a lot loads. And then probably I would probably say maybe about been selling this product for maybe about a year, and it wasn’t doing particularly well, if I’m honest. And we were sort of em wife and I and my knees were over at the time. And we were outside and I’ve got a dog sort of our Lucy loser, who’s the chair chair. And she’s sort of bothered with them with hotspots. And she had to wear this, this cone, Cone of Shame, sort of like for like weeks and weeks at a time. And it was like, and she hated it. And it was really making her miserable. And you know, it was making I was miserable, too. And we tried to like an inflatable color, which was a which was great. But when we were looking at when we’re actually looking out there, the only options were either sort of like bought and blue or sort of a dull gray. There was nothing, you know, there of you know, with any color, etc. I then, you know, sort of I’d love to take the credit this but you mean I’ll give this credit to my wife. She came it was John, what wouldn’t it be great, you know, if we, we sort of like had it in a sprinkled doughnuts. You know, so like, it looks like a donut. You know? Wouldn’t it be great?
 
Kevan Marshall 
And as Joe White you know, you know when something actually clicks and you think wow, what if you know what a great idea. Yeah, so I think because I’d already been sort of selling on Amazon. I could literally I could pull the trigger pretty quickly. So I started contacting suppliers and everything and I suppose from there From the first sort of concept of, you know, of the idea to, to actually getting it on the shelves and selling an Amazon was about five months. It’s pretty quick. Which Yeah, which, which is really good. So yeah, so we looked at, I suppose we were just like scratching our own itch, because the there was, you know, there was, there was a need for us. And the actual products are out there, we weren’t happy with one there was sort of the design was terrible. There’s another things as well, you’ve been the material, we improved on the material. So yeah, so we so we really designed the product around about, you know, what, what we would like it with the hope that, you know, you know, we’d be selling to sort of customers, you know, just like us, you know, that other people would like?
 
Ben Donovan  
Yeah, and that’s, you know, exactly what we’re talking about, right? solving a real problem. Differentiating, you know, you were telling me that that’s enabled you to really withstand lower pricing in your niche as well, you’ve been able to stand up there as a, as a higher priced product, which again, is going to be such a difference maker for you.
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah, so I probably say we’re probably maybe about 70% More expensive than know, than the, you know, then the other products are right there. So, so there is a Yeah, so there definitely is a bit of a difference, which is great, really, because I’m not, we’re not really a you know, I suppose looking at this and like the target market, you know, that sort of cheap and cheerful really, yeah. Because, I mean, there’s, I mean, everyone’s getting into that you mean there’s loads of, you know, the, there’s loads of, you know, products out there, you know, that you’re if you’re just looking for the cheapest, then human being you’ll, you’ll find it. So when we’re really looking for, you know, a product that, you know, that our customers love, you know, that they, you know, looks you’re totally different, really, from an aesthetic point of view to, you know, to what’s out there. And, you know, and yeah, and, you know, just, you know, just really sort of like there’s really different to, you know, to you know, like your your standard blue collar.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, definitely. That’s really good man. And then just fast forward us to you know, the impact that’s made on your business in terms of, you know, as much or as little as you want to share that’s absolutely fine. But, you know, volumes and wallets enabled you to do, because you’ve retired now, right?
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yes, yeah. So yeah, so I said my goal was 55 and then two weeks after my 55th birthday, I said to the left my left my job and to the left side suddenly drives and pensions
 
Ben Donovan 
Nice. Yeah, good stuff. And you know, the business is really moving forward as well to the point where you went on to Dragon’s Den which is what we’ll get on to and you know, you went on there looking to really get some help to grow this business must have been an exciting kind of prospect for you. I know there will be a lot of people with you know, a lot of questions about this and I’m fascinated about the experience what you went through so take us back to the beginning at what point did you think well I’m going to apply to be on Dragon’s Den
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah, so it was it was probably it was a Saturday in April last year. So I was I was just sort of sitting also like marking it on the on the sofa you know, looking through my computer surfing the net and I think I must have come across you know, an advertisement or something for applications for the new series Dragon’s Den which is series 90 So I went on the I went on the Dragon’s Den website and you know on there there was a like an application for him that you could actually fill out you know, to be to be on the show. Now, I must admit when I when I’ve been I’ve been a fan of Dragon’s Den but I had absolutely no sort of recollection and never ever saw me in a million years ever you know, appeared on Dragon’s Den you know, it was but I thought well, you know, what you’ve been I’ve got I’ve got a product at a time but I was I only I only pretty much launched it say a few months before you know, which went sort of there which went sort of great guns and then ended up running out of stock. And at the time when I’ve when I was sort of like looking at applying for Dragon’s Den I was actually out of stock just waiting for new start to sort of come in. So I had a little bit of sort of time on my hands. And I thought you know what you mean, I’m just gonna I’m gonna apply for it. You know, I think it’ll you know, I think it will do well on Dragon’s Den, you know, sort of I’ll be able to take my dogs down model in the product. And you know, it was it was different to say a lot of the usual products etc. And usual things that you see on Dragon’s Den, so I thought it’d be you know, I thought I thought it would be I thought it’d be good I thought it would work out well in Dragon’s Den. I thought brilliant, maybe, you know, maybe have a chance. So I filled out the application for
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, definitely. And then what was the first contact you had from them? Who was in touch with you?
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah. So, so they, so they kind of satellite said, you know, on the, you know, on the application form they get 1000s of, you know, obviously applicants your every week. And you know, when they said like they, they obviously have an initial select sifting through process. And if you don’t actually hear anything sort of like within the next couple of weeks and you haven’t I’ve obviously made that cut. So I was kind of thinking, Well, you know what, you know, I’ll you know, if, if I hear nothing in two weeks time, then I’ve obviously haven’t been in the show.
 
Kevan Marshall 
But anyway, literally, I’d filled it out on the sea on the Saturday and then sort of a calmness sort of Wednesday, the following week, I ended up getting a telephone call. So So I answered it, and I have to be, you know, sort of one of the one of the reps from Dragon’s Den, and they said, Oh, yeah, we’ve got your application for, you know, for Dragons Den, you know, sort of like, hey, you know, we’re really interested in your business, you know, so we had a sort of like a chat. And I said, Yeah, we’d like to, we’d like to offer you in audition. I went right, okay. And it goes, Oh, well. So like COVID is obviously suddenly happening in the auditions are sort of like, a bit different. And he sort of went through the kind of like the process, he goes, Oh, yeah, sort of you’ll, you’ll need to do a video, video patch two to three minute video patch? And do you need to send that in? You know, there’s, there’s a number of documents that you’ll need to sort of late sign etc, and send in? You’ll need to we need some, some other proof, etc. But but don’t worry, is it? Well, we’ll send it all in an email. And you know, and you can go through it. So I might, you know, please. So he said, we’d like to book you in for a week, the following Monday. So this was sort of like the Wednesday, so I literally had like, a week to get all the stuff together to you know, before it before the actual sort of audition with them. So So I got the email the following day, and it was pretty extensive. So I mean, there was, I think, five different documents that you had to read and sign and send back
 
Ben Donovan 
one of the A’s or something. Sorry, they’re like NDAs, that you have to sign off.
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah. So you had a contestant consent form? Yeah, you had a proper document, you had some publicity guidelines, you had this thing, which was an eight point production, production outline as well, which I had sort of eight points, which all had to be all had to be signed, as well as doing the video patch, he also had to video yourself reading that eight point production outline. You had to fill in a so you had a pre interview questionnaire, which was which was kind of similar to the initial application, but it kind of had a few other things in it. So you had to you had to fill out and send it. And there was also other, like proof documents, so proof of ID, proof of residence makes sure that you’re obviously resident in the UK, and also proof of business incorporation, as well. So you had to send your your business incorporation certificate. So it’s quite, you know, it’s quite a quite a lot of sort of stuff.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah. And this is all before you’ve got any idea if you’re going to be accepted.
 
Kevan Marshall 
Absolutely before. So the mean, the two to three minute pitches is literally, you know, a pitch that you would be given to the dragons. Yeah. So you mean, so obviously, at this time, you mean, I’d had to sort of write the script for the pitch, then I had to memorize it, and then obviously had the video at which tech, as you can imagine, so like, quite a few takes a nice over there sort of live video and it for me. So, yeah, so yeah, so it was quite quite a lot to, you know, to do within, you know, within the first week.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah. Wow. And then, what was the next step was the next stage them telling you? Yeah, you’re gonna be on the show? Or is there?
 
Kevan Marshall 
No, no. So when so we had the so had the, the addition sort of a interview. And, and so, so part of the part of the initial telephone call that I had, he also had dimension this, where our, we would do the the, you know, the interview, the audition interview. And there will also be a piece in there where is going to hit record, and you need to actually talk for about five or so minutes about something that’s not related to actually your business. So when I actually got the email that was actually in the email, so I totally forgot all about it. So I’m concentrating on the, you know, I’m sort of like doing signing these documents and doing the we’re really concentrating and doing the actual catch. And then when I when I had the when I had the interview, and it was gone right. Okay, yeah. So maybe I went mentioned a bit the fact that you need to talk to me but five minutes if it’s something on weren’t related, right. Okay if you’ve got an idea what you’re saying right you ready to go? And I literally Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I literally had like about five seconds to think of something that it was going to actually chat to hope for, like about five minutes. Because it because I totally forgot about it. So, so thankfully, I ended up talking for about five minutes about me going away in my campervan. Right. Like but yeah, so that was that was actually quite sort of like a scary, scary, scary time. Actually.
 
Ben Donovan 
This is on the phone with them.
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah, so it was a it was a video call. So like, like, yeah, so yeah, so it was done via zoom. Yeah, so it was all done via zoom. So, so yeah, so So at the end of that, he kind of told us what the the next process would be. So he then had to pitch, you know, my business and my business idea to, you know, to the producers of the show, you know, so, and he would say goes, Oh, that would probably take me about a week, you know, so just because you need to try instead of a get hold of the producers to be able to select echeque said, you know, if you’re successful there, then the next phase is due diligence. And he kind of subtly briefly said, Yeah, well, you’ll have a couple of weeks to do that. There’ll be sort of like a number of documents or whatever that you need to put together. And, you know, I mean, a lot, a lot of people find that the most difficult part of the phase but but but once you once you’ve done those documents, it’s fine. You’ll be you’ll have them forever. When right for Yeah, fine. Okay, even I was thinking, well, it can’t be that sort of extensive that went to gyms, generally not. Now, we’ve got two weeks to do it. God, that’s a bit excessive. So when we got back to us, and, and I’ve got through the part, you know, sort of like pitching it to the producers. And then sort of a then said, right, I’ll email you, you know, the other stuff that we need for the due diligence, and it was extensive. Literally, it was hard to do a business plan, you know, all the different sort of, like proof documents, proof of sales, proof of traffic to my website, sort of proves that, you know, this suppliers, suppliers where, you know, employee and child labor. Wow. Honestly, I mean, literally, Ben, I’ve got I’ve got this here, right. And I kid you not, that is my due diligence folder. Crazy, that thick. I mean, honestly, I literally, it literally took me, you know, the whole the two weeks, when the two week deadline I had, it literally took me the whole two weeks, to get all the all that paperwork together, it was a lot of ways crazy. It was a huge amount of work and, and even then you’re not so you’re not guaranteed even then the you’re gonna get a sort of a film and date. And it just so happened that sort of probably about a week into putting together all my due diligence stuff. They contacted me and actually gave me a provisional filming date. Which was, which was the third, which was the third of June last year. And it happened to be the very first sort of, like filming date of filming day. Of the, you know, are the new series series 19. Which, which is the very first filming day that obviously with the new Dragon, Steven Bartlett as well.
 
Ben Donovan 
Wow. So I mean, it’s a lot of work, but then it did all move quite quickly for I suppose you applied at a good time. I suppose. That’s why they were running ads at that time as well. But it all did move quite quickly for you must have been exciting as much as there was a lot of work.
 
Kevan Marshall 
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, it was incredibly exciting, you know, sort of a, you know, going to be going on Dragon’s Den, and you know, but but every but every time there was always a it may, you know, it was like, Okay, we’re giving you this provisional, this provisional filming date. But you mean, you know, it may get changed, and it may. So you don’t actually really mean you can guarantee that it’s actually going to happen. Yeah. Until that happens. Yeah. And but yeah, incredibly, incredibly excited. Honestly, it was. I mean, it was buzzing but but thing has been, it was incredibly exciting. But but you had to keep it to yourself because you weren’t allowed to tell anybody which was which was even which was even harder, which was quite hard. So you couldn’t tell anyone that you would go on Dragon’s Den and the people that work didn’t know you know, I think the only the only people that didn’t know is was one my wife obviously and In the and my niece, Carrie, who were we out, we actually wanted her to come down with us because we had our dogs and we wanted her to look after the dogs while I was, you know, under the dragon. So, so yes. So to two people, two people
 
Ben Donovan 
crazy, because you’re pretty active member of our BBU community and then everyone found out now like God given you Dark Horse, so you’ve been keeping this from us?
 
Kevan Marshall 
I know, I know, it was a, you know, under under pain or deaths. You know, I did have to sign like a lot of like nondisclosure agreements and stuff there was, there was a lot of stuff that was involved in that. And, and they were saying, then the risk was that if I did, if I did to, like, tell anybody, and it happened to sort of get out into the public domain, and, you know, and the dragons happen to find out about it, you know, three, maybe select social media or, you know, or whatever channel, then you know, that would then put the, you know, put the my put at risk, you know, any chance of actually me being on the show, let alone any chance of it actually getting out.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, ya know, that that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So, you obviously, you did get on the show, though. And then you’ve got that filming date? And you presumably it was they film in Manchester, right? They do. Yeah. Came down. Do you come down the night before getting us Hotel?
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah, so the, so I, we came down the night before. So So I drove down with the with the dogs we had. We also had the sort of about 40 You know, like doughnuts are in the box, we keep them in the camper bag, the night before had to hand the so add another contact, you know, in in Dragon’s Den that sort of a, you know, one of the admin guys so so I had to drop off all the all the products the night before. And they they put us up in a hotel. And we were, we were scheduled to go on. So they had to, they have two sessions a day, because they don’t want sort of everybody actually so late turning up at the same time. So So I have two sessions, morning session and evening session, or morning session and an afternoon session. And we were sort of scheduled to to be down in the in the morning session. So we had to be at the studio for eight o’clock in the morning. Okay. And I think filming was expected about I don’t know, but back at 10, maybe. But sort of a there was no guarantee on, you know, on where the where you would actually be in that sort of morning slot. So there could be like three, you know, three entrepreneurs, three businesses there. And you don’t know whether you’re gonna actually be on the first the first one, you know, you know, or the last one in that session? Yeah, I mean, I did ask, if I could be on the, you know, on the very first one, because we’ve, there’s a couple reasons we had, obviously, because we had the dogs, you may all want them to like hanging about, you know, in the studio for like hours on end. And sort of monies carry you came down with, she was training to be a radiographer, and she actually had an exam the following day. So we really need to get back up from Manchester up Scotland, you know, your that day, we couldn’t say another night. So, so I’d asked if I could be on the, you know, the very first session. And but there was no guarantee that I was actually going to be on it. But you mean as it was, I was I was actually the very first person, you know, on Dragon’s Den in that sort of a, you know, on, you know, on series 19 You know, and in front of Steven Bartlett for the very first time. So I was the very first entrepreneur that Steven Bartlett actually met, which was which is quite quite exciting.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, that is very exciting. Emotions, as you walked through the doors to go in that room heart was heart was beating
 
Kevan Marshall 
sort of I was, I was actually really, you know, really sort of a confidence when you when you actually go down there, and you get there obviously early, you have to go through you know, all the defects or all the different sort of late stages, you actually sort of late your pre fill. So you late so so I was with a dog so they were you’re waiting to get in the elevator, you pre film that when you’re in the elevator, now we’ll get pre filmed walking out in front of the dragons. That’s all pre filmed. I’d literally probably set my patch about 10 or 15 times you know, through through the whole time while I was there in the you know, in the morning, so which is great because I just managed to get me so like really confident with my patch. You had to give all your A your sort of your pre your pre interviews, you have to give that which was probably lasted maybe about half an hour actually. Yeah. So So by the time I actually came to sort of go on, you mean I was I was ready to go. There was there was a number of delays. They had some technical details, their difficulties, maybe with the sound etc. So I think we were due to go on about back at 10. And I think it might have been near so late 12 o’clock, actually before we, before we actually went in a while. So let’s say it was from eight o’clock we got there and sort of like a bit 12 o’clock we actually went in. So yeah, when I was mean, I was ready to go. You mean I was I was fairly pumped, you know, you know, I was really looking forward to you also really excited just to like, just to get get out there and sort of like a yawn get in front of the dragons, which is, which would be brilliant.
 
Ben Donovan 
That’s awesome. And then the pitch, how did it go?
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah, so the mean, minify nailed, the pitch went really well. And as I said, you’re probably similar. Like I said, my pitch about 15 times before, actually, you know, before I actually had to deliver it in front of the dragons. So it was, so it was great. So I thought I thought I thought the Patriot really well. And, you know, sort of like everything, you know, at the start, I thought when you know, when when went really well. And I, which I suppose when you when you, you know, when you’re actually watching slay dragons den as well. And, and, you know, you, you see sort of like some people kind of like stumbling, you know, maybe some like on the patch, you know, and you do get sort of like lots of opportunities, while I find you get lots of opportunity to actually just keep repeating it and keep repeating keep repeating it. So, you know, it was, obviously when you’re when you’re in front of the dragons, there’s maybe a different it’s obviously a different prospect. Yeah. I mean, because that repetition, you know, that was that was good. So we just, I just repeated everything, you know, that, you know, that had been doing for the last 15 times. And yeah, and it was it was good. It was great.
 
Ben Donovan 
Good, good. And then what was the initial reaction from the Dragons? Like, who was first to challenge you and ask you questions?
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah. So were you also funnily enough, Steve, Steve Bartlett was very first person actually to to ask a question. He was asking me about a lot of the satellite there the the financials. And I was, I was literally I was in there for probably, like, good part, two hours, honestly, two hours. And, and a lot of that you mean was like, really kinda sort of getting grilled? Honestly. But yeah, two hours, sort of a, you know, the asking questions instead of like, getting getting grilled. You know, somewhere, obviously, you know, we’re probably, you know, better than others. But, yeah, so, yeah, so it was a long time, you know, and, and then when it did, obviously, get some like, here, do you mean, it was only really on for the montage? Like, like, two minutes? And, you know, and I was literally, I was in there for two, you know, two hours.
 
Ben Donovan 
Crazy. It’s crazy. Yeah, we’ll get on to the airing, definitely, because I’d like to chat a bit more about that dynamic as well. When it came to investment time, what what kind of unfolded there. Did you feel like, you know, there was some dynamics at play there.
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah. So the, so I would probably say sort of initially said late Stephen Bartlett was there, you know, it was really was really interesting. He loved the product. He really did. And Deborah, Deborah Meaden and Sarah Davis, probably not so much. So, Deborah made in particular, I just kind of got the impression that there’s, you know, in her eyes is already, you know, a product out there, and, you know, which does it was does a job, and she didn’t really see much of a point for for my product. And Sarah Davis, I would probably say, you mean, what a very big things is, is I wanted to get into get my product also into, you know, like more traditional retailers, like into shops and stuff. And she just didn’t see that happening at all. Which, which, which I find quite interesting, actually, because now I’m actually selling and, you know, some independent pet shops, which he always says we are, which is which is which is quite, quite funny. Sort of, to car you mean, mean, to me Touka was tickled was lovely, you know, sort of there. I just don’t think that there was maybe enough profit in from in it for them, you know? And yeah, sort of like, hey, you know, and I suppose it’s sort of like the, the rash you’ve been, there’s kind of mixed, you know, certainly Max de, you know, sort of min max amount of questions of X ray, you know, maximum out of interest, you know, sort of like, you know, in the product and yeah, in the business,
 
Ben Donovan 
you talked about the profit and the investment and what they get back for it, how did you decide on what to ask for in terms of an investment and what to offer in terms of a percentage.
 
Kevan Marshall 
So, yeah, so that’s a that’s a really that’s a really good question, actually. So when, so, I don’t I only really been settling for, you know, for a short time, so I had to kind of really look at you know, potential and you know, extra probably, you know, some of the sales that I had sort of like literally from the, from the first month or so looked at potentially around about 40 sales a day. So that was that. So that’s what I was looking at. So I was looking at, say, okay, 40 sales a day that that would like roll up to a revenue of say renovate three, your 300,000 pound, you know, so, you know, take, you know, sort of, like 30, grand 10%. So that’s, so that’s kind of how I worked out the, you know, the percentage, so I was looking at, I was looking for 30 grand for 10% investment.
 
Ben Donovan 
That’s very reasonable comparison.
 
Kevan Marshall 
I thought it was I thought it was incredibly reasonable to be asked,
 
Ben Donovan 
some of them you see, go on there, and they’ve got a 5 million valuation they’ve not ever made a sale, it’s
 
Kevan Marshall 
certainly been half may end up selling, you know, about 170. I think it was in the, you know, in my first month, you know, now it’s just like a brand new product, you know, straight, you know, straight, no reviews, you know, straight onto Amazon, so, yeah, so personally, I thought I thought they were getting, you know, a bargain. Yeah, if I’m honest, but I guess they never thought like that.
 
Ben Donovan 
No, but you know, I think you can now sit there and look at your, you know, the growth and, you know, progress as a business and think, Well, you know, they’ve missed out there, because you’ve continued to get stronger and grow. And, you know, we’ve been talking about launching into different countries. And, you know, there’s lots of opportunity there, and they’ve missed out on that. So, you know, which maybe spoiler alert, sorry, I should have said that to you. Why did you did you get investment? Maybe?
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah, so, so no, so yeah, so no, no, I didn’t I didn’t get an investment. But you mean, I’ve still got 100% of my business? And yeah, which, which is, which is good. So,
 
Ben Donovan 
yeah. When you when you left? The initial feeling? Were you disappointed?
 
Kevan Marshall 
I don’t what was probably not so much disappointed. I was I felt kind of sort of drained because they’d been in there for for, say, two hours. Yeah. And I wasn’t, I wasn’t really not disappointed. If I’m honest. I actually felt that and that I gave, you know, that gave everything I answered every question, you know, to the best of my ability. I mean, when I when I left, I had no sort of real regrets, I would say, Sure, I’ve disappointed, I suppose I suppose everyone’s probably a little bit disappointed, because obviously went in there for, you know, for an investment, and I didn’t come out with it. But you mean, I was I certainly wasn’t overly disappointed in it, if I’m honest, I would do it all again, you know, in a heartbeat. Even if I got the exact same outcome.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, good. That’s good to hear. And then there was the wait for it to air and you weren’t even sure whether it would air they didn’t tell you is definitely going to be on TV. Right?
 
Kevan Marshall 
No, so Exactly. So when so once. So the content that I initially had, you know, the Dragon’s Den, you know, sort of he ends up leaving, and it gets then goes into the production team. So, so, I had a different contact from the production team. But then I was told that, you know, that you if, you know, if and when you know, f f is going to get out, you will get contacted about two weeks before, you know, the actual show aired. And, and then obviously, the first episode came on. And I was thinking, Well, you know what I might, I’m not going to be on the first episode, because I was the very first person and, you know, so yeah, so you obviously think, well, you know, and then anyway, so I reached out to my contact just to find out what was going on. And she was saying, oh, yeah, you’re, you’re kind of penciled in for the for the second half of the series. But sort of your your will, will get in contact you when, you know when and if you know you’re actually going to get out so, so yeah, so I had absolutely no idea. I was hoping I was gonna get something at a time. But yeah, I mean, I had absolutely no idea, you know, whether or not it was going to get, you know, aired or not all the time, you have to you know, keep very quiet. Because if anything comes out then you know, obviously that’s going to be a huge risk to you know, any any possible chances of actually getting out. Yes. Oh, yes, they keep Yeah, they definitely still like keep you keep you wondering quite, quite quite a lot. Really.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah. And then when you did watch it, what were your emotions when you when you watched it back?
 
Kevan Marshall 
Well, Joe, it was a Yeah, it was kind of it was kind of hard to watch. And I found it kind of difficult actually sort of watching it but I knew I knew it was going to be on because it was kind of like a little tiny, you know, a couple of seconds You know, preview on from the, from the episode The week before. So, so so obviously I knew sort of I was, you know, obviously, I knew anyway I was gonna get on but that sort of came and I kind of watched that. And then, you know, then it’s too late you get kind of a bit of a cringe because you’re kind of like watching yourself on the telly and yeah, it was. It was a bit of a hard watch, maybe sort of like watching myself on the TV. But, but yeah, it was it was fine. It wasn’t it wasn’t, it wasn’t too painful.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, it’s interesting, right? Because they are, and I’ve heard it from a number of different places in this show. And like many others, you know, like, I’ve watched the apprentice, you know, every year, and me and my wife, we sit there and we literally baffled sometimes at how, you know, stupid they make them look, but so much of that is in the editing. And, you know, in that sort of two minutes slot you had, it looks like they were just giving you such a grilling, and they didn’t share any of the you know, you’ve talked about how Steven loved the product. I didn’t show any of that, you know, and and so I just imagine how, you know, I think you came off really well. And I think you should be proud of what you did and proud of how you presented it. But they obviously are paid to edit it in a way that’s entertaining, which must be difficult as well.
 
Kevan Marshall 
I mean, absolutely. I think first first and foremost, Dragon’s Den is a TV program. Yeah. So you mean as opposed to you know, like a business investment vehicle really. And and yeah, you’ve been a that they can edit it sort of, you know, pretty much anywhere anyway, anyway, they want to you know, which you know, which is which? Which is fine. You’ve been I’ve certainly not got a problem with that, you know,
 
Ben Donovan 
you’ve signed all those forms that says they can do what they want with it so
 
Kevan Marshall 
Exactly, exactly.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, no, it’s good. It’s good I mean, great experience for you a lot of people will wonder in terms of the exposure for the product you know, what that did for you as a result of that how did that go?
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah, so when I would quite funny actually so so I definitely got I definitely got a bag you know from a you know the from from from the airing on Dragon’s Den and sort of one of the one of the things which which which I didn’t actually expect you know, was so we run PPC sort of campaigns obviously, you know, pay per click Sort of advertising campaigns around Amazon and sort of pretty much to the like literally sort of like my my acos has been some a fairly stable ran about 20% You know, the spend has been sort of like fairly stable and this has been pretty much no all the way since I’ve actually been selling my product so anyway, I’d had the sort of the campaign set up I had multiple campaigns set up with their with various budgets, you know, for all the satellite their different campaigns I would never ever use all that budget you know, for those different campaigns. As soon as Dragon’s Den sort of aired sort of them you know, loads of people were obviously select seeing the product going on Amazon and the first thing that they see as a sponsored ad so so they were clicking on the sponsored ads so So literally, you know no no, no word of a lie it literally probably cost me about you know about 200 payment or something I will extra advertising spend over for people actually going on and so I can click on it just to find it but in product so in hindsight I should have probably made me sort of light switch my advertising off I suppose so. So yeah, so I didn’t expect that I got I definitely got like loads of hits, you know, extra hits to my website you know, which is great. Got a little bit of exposure in you know, in some media outlets as well. Or they cover some like Dragon’s Den, which is you know, and so yeah, so and and definitely I would say got a you know, got a you know, like a hit and sales and I’ve had people actually reviewing the product with a with a five star review and actually sort of like mentioning, you know, mentioning actually Dragon’s Den, you know, I know you’re on the sort of under review as well which is which is brilliant.
 
Ben Donovan 
That is awesome. Yeah, that’s awesome. And for anybody that’s listening that maybe wants to be going on Dragon’s Den or is actually going to appear on it. If you were to like go back and do it all again is there anything that you would do differently
 
Kevan Marshall 
so there’s probably not I would probably say the a lot of the a lot of the due diligence stuff kind of like prepared me for a lot of the financial questions, etc. That was gonna get asked on a you know, actually, you know, in front of the Dragons Dragons Den. And I think, you know, I think sort of there If I prepared maybe a little bit better on the on the actual marketing side of the site, the business particularly the the stuff off Amazon, you know, like social media marketing, etc. You know, Steven Bartley he was a obviously he’s huge and, you know, social media marketing. And I think if I had maybe suddenly prepared a bit more, you know, to say some of the questions that he was likely to going to ask, although we kind of like love the product, I think maybe that would have been better. So I’d probably say, a little bit more. So research maybe on the actual specific individual, so like, people, I’m trying to, you know, anticipate maybe some of that some some more of the questions, I probably say, 90% of the questions I kind of like, would definitely say that I prepared really well, for maybe some of the marketing questions, you know, that Steven Bartlett was asking me when I could have maybe prepared sort of, like, a lot better for that. Yeah, but, but definitely, what I say is, you know, definitely, you know, if you apply, you have to be in it for it to win. It definitely is a great experience. I mean, there’s a lot of hard work to, to actually get on the show. But yeah, it’s worth it. Irrespective of whether you were you know, you get investment or not, yeah, definitely
 
Ben Donovan 
great life experience as well. And a memory that will be with you forever. So,
 
Kevan Marshall 
never raised that will be will be forever, and zeal and sort of it and it’ll be you’re there to be watched, you know, pretty much forever.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Good stuff. Kevan, what, what’s what’s next for you and the business what you got planned over the next year?
 
Kevan Marshall 
Yeah, so when so we’re, we’re looking on launching in Europe, so we’re just waiting for the European fulfillment network to, you know, to go live again, you know, sort of post Brexit. So we’re quite excited about that. So, so we’re, we’re not live on that yet was was waiting for Amazon to sort of like flick the switch, and then we should be sort of, like, good to go, all the listings are all translated. So we’re just waiting for Amazon to, you know, to pull the pull the trigger on that, and then we could start selling there. We, we want to launch into the USA. So that’s, you know, that’s going to be, I think, a huge marketplace. For us, we’ve got a few challenges that we’re that we’re working through at the moment regarding some of our products, you know, going into America, but as soon as we actually get that sorted out, you know, we’ll be good to go. So we’re hoping that the next the next big order that we place, you know, with our supplier, you know, at least some of that will be able to go to go to the USA. So, so yeah, and then and then just sort of, like work out, you know, go, you know, go global, really, so I think my big my big goal really is, you know, yes, I want to, you know, build a like a global brand. But I want to be able to build this global brand, while sort of like sitting by the beach in my camper van, you know, so that is a that is definitely a you know, a question that, you know, I need to try and find an answer for.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, well, you’re kind of doing that already anyway, because you see these pictures of these beautiful spots that you’re making us all jealous. So we appreciate you kept thanks for coming on the show as well and kind of sharing about all of that. I’m sure it’s been super insightful for people. We’re super proud to have you as part of the community and excited to see where the next year or two goes.
 
Kevan Marshall 
Perfect. Thank you very much, Ben. It’s been an absolute pleasure being been on your legend.
 
Ben Donovan 
Awesome, guys. Well, thanks so much for listening. I hope you got loads out of that conversation with Kevan there. If you did, hit that thumbs up, hit that like button, subscribe, all that good stuff. And let Kevan know you enjoyed it. And we’ll look forward to seeing you in the next episode real soon.